We see this even today, when in the wake of the horrific suicide bombing in Jerusalem, the Israeli police quickly cleared away the carnage and allowed traffic to flow again on the busy downtown street.
The commission's report severely castigates the BBC's handling of the affair, calling the Beeb's editorial and management system "defective." An excellent summary of the report can be found at The Guardian.
HonestReporting commends the Hutton Commission for successfully piercing the BBC veil and making the UK media giant answerable for its coverage. To a great degree, the report also vindicates the tireless efforts of BBC monitor Trevor Asserson, and HonestReporting hopes this will add steam to efforts to remove the BBC's royal charter and repeal the annual license fee supporting BBC programming.
Support the cancellation or non-renewal of the charter by writing to UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell: email@example.com
So plain ignorance contributes to the problem - no surprise there. We'd be interested to know what exactly those Middle East questions were, though. Anybody out there know? If so, please respond in comments below.
A disturbing story, and another aspect of the exchange not covered by the major media outlets.
As Israel's prisoner exchange with Hizbullah nears completion, news outlets have provided the raw data of the deal - 435 Arab prisoners (400 of them Palestinian) and one German convicted of spying for Hezbullah, in exchange for Israeli Elhanan Tanenbaum and three IDF soldiers abducted near the Lebanon border in 2000 and assumed dead. (This is the latest in a history of highly lopsided prisoner exchanges between Israel and Arab groups.) A proposed second stage of the deal would involve the release of terrorist Samir Qantar for "significant, proven and clear information" about the fate of Israeli airman Ron Arad.
Absent from news reports, however, is the essential background of two terrorist leaders due to be released to Lebanon: Mustafa Dirani and Abdel Karim Obeid. Here are their stories, and their connection to Arad:
It could be that BBC simply included 'Hutton inquiry' in its Google Ad Words, as a part of a larger ad campaign to attract new viewers, but it would seem appropriate under the circumstances to omit that particular topic.
I am CEO of Scandinavia's largest Classical Music Record Company, BIS Records. I visited Dror Feiler's "Snow White" installation and was deeply disgusted with it.
An integral part was the use of an aria from Bach's Cantata No. 199, Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (My Heart Swims in Blood), which had been "arranged" (read: "distorted") by Feiler and went on and on in a loop at the site.
Since I thought I recognized my recording (BIS 801) through the mess, I called Feiler up to ask whence he got the music he was using. The answer was that he had no idea since he had tanked down the music from the Internet. I asked him to try to check up on it and get back to me. He refused.
Continue reading "'Snow White' Creator Stole Music"
Absurdities at the NY Times
* British journalist Boris Johnson was asked to write an op-ed for the New York Times last year. He relates the Times' absurd process of rendering the column politically-correct enough for print:
I had said something to the effect that you don't make international law by giving new squash courts to the President of Guinea. This now read 'the President of Chile.' Come again? I said. Qué?
'Uh, Boris,' said [Times editor] Tobin, 'it's just easier in principle if we don't say anything deprecatory about a black African country, and since Guinea and Chile are both members of the UN Security Council, and since it doesn't affect your point, we would like to say Chile.' In the end, I gave way on this, since it was getting cold and I was worried about the battery of my mobile. But my views of the NY Times were starting to evolve.
How craven and mealy-mouthed can you get? Why is a mild insult more bearable because it is directed at a crisis-ridden Latin American country, rather than a crisis-ridden African country? Is it, heaven forfend, because one country is Hispanic and the other is black?
Read on for the Times' 'issues' with making light of Gulf War Syndrome, and using the term 'Gee' (they were afraid of offending Christian sensibilies, since - if you didn't know - 'Gee' originated from 'Jesus').
Note, though, how seriously The Times considers their own role in the dissemination of an op-ed piece. HonestReporting has continually stressed that a newspaper should be held accountable, to some degree, for the content of their op-ed's (here's the latest case), and this episode indicates that the editors themselves are very much aware of that.
* Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent released a mea culpa today after committing the very journalistic sin he himself decried just two weeks ago: partially quoting a source, thereby altering the source's actual intention.
I suppose I could try to explain how I managed to mistranscribe a quotation in an e-mail message sitting right in front of me, or go through the reasoning that had me cut Halbfinger's comment short. But explanation is not justification.
The mistake was entirely my own, and a pretty embarrassing one it is.
Another example of The Times altering an op-ed to conform with their views: human rights lawyer Anne Bayefsky's piece on the UN's unfair treatment of Israel - read about it here.
(Hat tip: Kesher Talk)
Jihad Unspun on Google News
Our communique to subscribers yesterday -- questioning the presence of Jihad Unspun on Google News -- is available online here.
To receive HonestReporting communiques by email, just type in your email address above.
* Reuters on a new Israeli system designed to beat bus bombers:
The new system lets the driver block anyone he thinks is suspicious by hitting a red button to close a turnstile. Electronic gates will be installed at back doors, which have been used by bombers to sneak on without the driver knowing.
A sheet of armor is also mounted on the front of the bus below the window to trap shrapnel if a bomber detonates right outside.
Here's a picture of the system.
* Peter Hermann of the Baltimore Sun looks into how Palestinian women have become involved in the intifada, and how gender lines are now blurring.
* Commentary by an American living in Israel on the 'Snow White' exhibit. Published in the Boston Globe.
* From BBC: A Saudi prince has accused his government of kidnapping him in Switzerland after he spoke out in favor of reform in Saudi Arabia.
* Moshe Arens - 'Crime Should Not Pay':
The accepted rule of international behavior is that a nation committing aggression not be "rewarded" by the return of territories it lost as a result of the war it had started. Violation of this rule is nothing less than an invitation to further aggression.
Today's Germany is not demanding the return of territories it lost to Poland in the last world war. Nor is Japan demanding the return of Korea or Manchuria to Japanese control. Only the case of Israel and its Arab neighbors seems to be different.
NYT Readers Rep Hits Internal Bumps
From Howard Kurtz's Washington Post media column: In the middle of a piece about how Daniel Okrent is doing as the NY Times' reader rep (apparently, there's some healthy friction between Okrent and editor Bill Keller), Kurtz writes:
In fact, says Keller, he has e-mailed readers to say he disagrees with Okrent's e-mails. Okrent, for instance, faulted the Times for leading a story on Palestinians cooperating with Israel with an anecdote that admittedly "could not be corroborated" -- about the blackmailing of a Palestinian lured into a sexual encounter. "I thought he was wrong," Keller says. "I wrote him and the reader and the reporters explaining why I thought the story was legitimate."
It would be interesting to know why Keller thought an non-corroborated quote of that nature is legitimate in a news story.
ZOA report on road map
The ZOA has released its latest report on Palestinian violations of the road map:
During the first 38 weeks since the Road Map was issued, there have been a total of at least 954 Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 140 people were murdered and 743 wounded.
Telegraph on ISM
The (UK) Telegraph dispells some media myths about the International Solidarity Movement (which we referred to in communiques on the Rachel Corrie affair):
The International Solidarity Movement is often described as a peace group but its founders back the Palestinian right to wage an "armed struggle".
Launched in 2001, the ISM says it uses "non-violent direct action" in the style of Gandhi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dr Martin Luther King.
A closer look reveals that the leadership sees volunteers not as pacifists but as combatants on the Palestinian side.
Maariv Online in English
Maariv just launched its online English edition: Maariv International
This is now the fourth English news service from Israel available online, joining Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and Arutz Sheva.
Maariv's own description of the launch is here.
More European Hate Crime
In Monday's communique, we indicated how important it is to recognize the context of Ambassador Mazel's protest against the Stockholm 'art' display: a highly disturbing wave of anti-Semitism in Europe.
Yesterday this happened in France:
STRASBOURG, France, Jan 20 (Reuters) - A van used as a schoolbus by a Jewish school in this eastern French city has been firebombed in what a community leader has called an apparent anti-Semitic attack, local police said on Tuesday.
The van was attacked on Monday before dawn, 24 hours after unidentified assailants pelted a nearby synagogue with stones during the night, they said. There was no sign who was behind the two incidents.
A local Jewish leader linked the two attacks to marches on Saturday protesting against a planned ban on Islamic veils in school led by an anti-Zionist Muslim leader from Strasbourg.
And this in Austria:
Vandals desecrated a Holocaust memorial near Vienna with an electric saw and spray-painted the German word for "lie" over an informational plaque describing Nazi-era crimes, a news agency reported today.
The attack was discovered yesterday at the site of a Hitler-era concentration camp in Hinterbruehl, a village 10 kilometres south of Vienna, the Austria Press Agency reported. Police were notified but had not yet found the vandals.
Dean Dons Keffiah
Howard Dean, having placed only third in Iowa, dumps the cotton sweaters and dons an Arab keffiah in this AP photo:
Democratic presidential hopeful former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean
greets supporters after his address during his caucus night party in
West Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 19, 2004. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The keffiah is a powerful symbol of pro-Palestinian 'solidarity' on all North American campuses and at anti-Israel rallies. Was Dean making such a statement, or simply unaware of its significance?
(Hat tip: Allah)
Babbin on Mazel, Europe
Jed Babbin (deputy undersecretary of defense in the first Bush administration) has an outstanding article in the National Review on Ambassador Mazel's protest, European terror appeasement, the security fence and the 'green line'. Excerpt:
"Snow White" is not art, it is a tribute to a murderer and her motive. It's no less offensive to Israelis than a tribute to 9/11 suicide pilot Mohammed Atta would be to us. "Snow White and the Madness of Truth" is an affront to civilization...
[European elites'] insistence that the Iraq campaign was an illegal war stems from their historic approach to emerging threats. The Europeans could — as Churchill repeatedly said — have avoided World War II if they had acted against Nazi Germany while it was arming itself for the coming onslaught against freedom. But then, as now, decadent Europe wants to talk, sign a piece of paper, and go back to sipping espresso and smoking Galois...
[The 'green line' is] not a border, not a division of land by treaty or otherwise. But the Palestinians — and their supporters in the U.N. — want it to be one. The ICJ action will try to establish it as a legal border. What the ICJ and the U.N. both want to conceal is the fact that borders are made by treaty — and usually by a treaty that makes peace after a war. The "green line" never made peace, and it's no border because both sides — Israelis and Palestinians alike — have never agreed it to be one.
Today's HR communique addressed the Israeli ambassador to Sweden's protest of an art exhibit glorifying the Haifa suicide bomber. Click below for a translation of a debate held yesterday on Israel's Reshet Bet, between Ambassador Mazel and the artist, Dror Feiler. (Hat tip: Tom Gross)
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Continue reading "Mazel-Feiler Debate"
Prominent Platform for Ashrawi
Former PLO spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi has developed a reputation as an articulate advocate for the Palestinian cause, appearing often on TV, in print media, and at high-profile events. This, despite Ashrawi's long record of as an apologist for terrorism and denier of the most fundamental facts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
For example, in a 1996 radio interview, Ashrawi spoke threateningly of Palestinian plans for confrontation and the use of "field capabilities" (a euphemism for terror). In an interview with CBS in November 2000, Ashrawi falsely claimed that Palestinian Arab children were not being sent to engage in violence against Israelis: "Not even animals would send their children into battle." And in her autobiography, 'This Side of Peace', Ashrawi repeatedly denounces Israeli 'assaults' on Palestinians, but in describing 30 years of Mideast history Ashrawi never once mentions a PLO terrorist attack.
Ashrawi has now been asked to deliver a speech at the prestigious J. Leo Dowd & Catherine Mellon Dowd Lecture Series, on Feb. 9 at the Berkshire Museum.
Ashrawi's record of deliberate distortion and terror support should disqualify her from delivering a talk in such a respectable forum. HonestReporting encourages subscribers to voice concern for this appointment by calling the Dowmel Foundation, sponsors of the lecture series, at (413) 528-5486.
Wash Post Cites Hamas Website
Kudos to media monitors at Eye On The Post, who caught Washington Post Israel correspondent Molly Moore citing the Hamas website as a reputable source in a Jan. 14 story on the Gaza suicide bombing. Wrote Moore:
The Hamas Web site reported that after the suicide bomber detonated herself, Israeli soldiers began firing weapons in the direction of the Palestinian workers that were inside the terminal. None of the initial reports could be immediately verified because Israeli security officials cordoned off access to the Erez Crossing on both the Israeli and Gaza sides.
This section of the article was later removed, but not before many thousands of readers viewed the outrageous claim. Says Eye On The Post:
Hamas is not a credible source for reporting facts about events on the ground, and it was entirely inappropriate for your reporter to report facts and rely upon Hamas for the same. It now appears the facts were fictitious, because no other news source has reported the same.
For the full, unedited Washington Post article, click on 'continuation' below:
Continue reading "Wash Post Cites Hamas Website"
Trevor Asserson, who has authored three studies of BBC bias against Israel, is interviewed at JCPA, in a long and worthwhile article entitled 'What Went Wrong at the BBC'. Says Asserson:
"In private conversations with senior BBC journalists, we have been told that anti-Israel feeling is rife within the BBC. Israel is considered a hated state. Anybody who has a different view has great difficulty being heard or getting his story out. I would not be surprised if that stretches to the point where some people there think that Israel should not exist, because that is now the position taken by some detractors of Israel. It would, however, be naןve to think that there is a stated, written BBC policy to be anti-Israel. There is no such thing as an unspoken Protocols of the Elders of Palestine in the BBC, whereby senior members of the Board of Governors say: 'Let's be anti-Israel, but don't write that down.'
"In the BBC's anti-Israeli atmosphere, the system works informally. It is full of reporters holding left-wing, so-called 'liberal' viewpoints, including very negative ones about Israel. They then recruit people under them who have a similar outlook. In this way, the liberal left-wing system propagates itself.
"Our own analysis of its output is consistent with this. There are other proofs as well. The name of a BBC journalist, Ian Haddow, signed in his private capacity, was found on an email petition against Israel. He had added the words, 'save us from Israel,' after his name."
Coverage of Gaza checkpoint bombing
Some noteworthy coverage of the horrific mother suicide-bomber:
* The Oregonian:
In a certain sense, a suicide bomber's sex is irrelevant. Male or female, they're all reprehensible and tragic figures -- primarily because of the victims they create and secondarily because of the perversion of humanity that these acts represent. But when the Palestinian terror masters send out young mothers so parts of their bodies can, as Al-Reyashi herself put it, "fly all over," they know they're trafficking in a different kind of terror. And so do we….
It's a strange kind of mother's love that abandons two young children. But, then, it's a strange kind of love of country that's founded on suicide attacks.
* Joel Greenberg of the Chicago Tribune focused on one aspect of Riyashi that was overlooked by everyone focusing on the mother-bomber angle: Riyashi's family was unusually outspoken against the bombing and angry at Hamas:
Taysir Shamalah, a cousin who works as a lifeguard with Reem al- Riyashi's husband, dismissed claims by Hamas that the suicide mission was an act of religious sacrifice.
"There's not a bit of religion in it, and the faith doesn't say this," Shamallah said. "A mother with children should bring them up."
* Even Chris McGreal of The Guardian has a similar report about the family of Iyad al-Masri being very angry with Islamic Jihad for sending him to die.
* But then there's this headline, from Newsday: 'Mother Turns Martyr'
Wouldn't a more appropriate headline have been 'Mother Turns Suicide-Murderer'?
UPDATE: How's this for an thickening plot - JPost has a Yediot Achronot report that the suicide bomber had cheated on her husband with another Hamas terrorist, and the act was 'punishment' for her adultery:
IDF sources said that the investigation has already revealed that Al-Reyashi's husband, an activist in the Hamas organization, not only knew about his wife's plans in advance, but even encouraged her to carry out the suicide attack. And that the person who recruited Reem to carry out the suicide attack and equipped her with the explosive belt was none other than the lover with whom she cheated on her husband. The Sunday Times reported Sunday that the husband drove his wife to Erez Crossing.
Outrageous comparison of the day
Courtesy NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman:
The Bush team destroyed the Iraqi regime in three weeks and has not persuaded Israel to give up one settlement in three years.
Continue reading "Outrageous comparison of the day"
Swedish art installation
On Friday Israel's ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, wrecked an art installation at Stockholm's Museum of National Antiquities that glorified the Palestinian terrorist responsible for the attack on Haifa's Maxim restaurant. Lest there be any doubt about the intention of the artist's work -- here's the accompanying text, which stood alongside the sea of blood:
'Snow White and the Madness of Truth'
Once upon a time in the middle of winter
For the June 12 deaths of her brother, and her cousin
and three drops of blood fell
She was also a woman
as white as snow, as red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony
Seemingly innocent with universal non-violent character, less suspicious of intentions
and the red looked beautiful upon the white
The murderer will yet pay the price and we will not be the only ones who are crying
like a weed in her heart until she had no peace day and night
Hanadi Jaradat was a 29-year-old lawyer
I will run away into the wild forest, and never come home again
Before the engagement took place, he was killed in an encounter with the Israeli security forces
and she ran over sharp stones and through thorns
She said: Your blood will not have been shed in vain
and was about to pierce Snow White's innocent heart
She was hospitalized, prostrate with grief, after witnessing the shootings
The wild beasts will soon have devoured you
After his death, she became the breadwinner and she devoted herself solely to that goal
”Yes”, said Snow White, "with all my heart”
Weeping bitterly, she added: "If our nation cannot realize its dream and the goals of the victims, and live in freedom and dignity, then let the whole world be erased"
Run away, then, you poor child
She secretly crossed into Israel, charged into a Haifa restaurant, shot a security guard, blew herself up and murdered 19 innocent civilians
as white as snow, as red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony
And many people are indeed crying: the Zer Aviv family, the Almog family, and all the relatives and friends of the dead and the wounded
and the red looked beautiful upon the white
(Text from the official site of the art show.)
Amish Tech Support says:
The proper response by the Israeli government is to offer a subsidy to a Swedish artist to create an "artistic" tribute to Mijailo Mijailovic.
And regarding free speech/censorship matters:
Israel Radio reported that the genocide exhibit included 20 pieces of art from artists around the world. Three works were selected from Israel, all of which presented the conflict from a Palestinian point-of-view, while a pro-Israel piece of art was excluded following diplomatic pressure from Syria.
Brian Whitaker Rules
Guardian Mideast editor Brian Whitaker is outraged by Robert Kilroy-Silks' article:
Where racism is concerned, therefore, freedom of speech has to be tempered by restraint. But whatever applies to one racial group has to apply to them all. It is no good having one rule for blacks, Jews and the Irish, and another rule - or none at all - for the Arabs.
Jerusalem Post Editor-in-chief Bret Stephens has a response, based on Whitaker's own utter lack of restraint in demonizing Israel and Israelis:
An archival search of the Guardian's Web site lists 711 of Whitaker's articles. I trolled through the first 240. I did not find a single article about suicide bombings against Israelis, except tangentially. Israeli victims of terror – the murdered, the bereaved, the maimed – escape his notice. There is hardly anything about everyday Israeli life beyond the conflict: not a word about our domestic politics, our high-tech industry, our cultural scene. He is astonished to discover that blacks serve in the Israeli army, having been apparently unaware of the existence of Ethiopian Jewry.
All in all, I did not read a single sentence of his that could be seen as remotely sympathetic to Israel or Israelis...His characterization of Israelis is every bit as one-sided and caricatured as Kilroy-Silk's is of Arabs. Indeed, it is infinitely more so.
BBC's new recruiting pool
Al-Jazeera's editor-in-chief has quit because he got a 'tempting offer' from none other than the BBC.
As we indicated in last week's communique, BBC corporate policy recently demonstrated yet again, through the removal of Robert Kilroy-Silk while tolerating Tom Paulin, its utter disregard for journalistic neutrality. This latest act of recruiting from jihad-friendly al-Jazeera only reinforces the point - BBC is predisposed to view the Mideast through the framework of radical Islam.
Meanwhile, Kilroy-Silk has quit.
Worth Reading Today
* From JPost: 'IDF Evacuates Palestinian Families After Gaza Floods'
IDF forces assisted in evacuating three Palestinian families after their homes were flooded near the Kissufim crossing in Gaza after heavy rains on Tuesday.
Lt.-Col. Ya'acov Shalomov, head of the district coordinating office in the south Gaza district, said the area where the homes were flooded is known for its constant terrorist activity, where bombs and shooting attacks are daily occurrences.
"Tuesday's assistance was purely humanitarian, despite the dangers involved," he said.
* Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom says the world must oust Syria from Lebanon:
The Syrian army has occupied Lebanon since 1976. "A million Syrians work in Lebanon and the thriving Lebanese narcotics industry is intended solely for the purposes of the Syrian Ba'ath people," Shalom said.
* Bradley Burston of Haaretz on 'The Damage Suicide Bombings Do to Palestinians':
Nothing has done more to tarnish the image of the Palestinian national movement than suicide bombings. Nothing has done more to align Palestinians in the foreign - especially the American - mind with the likes of al-Qaeda. Nothing has done more to alienate Israelis from the Palestinian cause. Nothing has done more to fortify the argument that with suicide bombings, Palestinians make no distinction between Tel Aviv and Tel Romeida [in Hebron] - nor between Israeli soldiers, settlers, or leftist bleeding-hearts - and that their true goal is the eradication of the entirety of the Jewish state and the annihilation or exile of its non-Arab inhabitants.
* Haaretz has an interview with Prof. Jeremy Rabkin of Cornell on the judgement of the security fence at The Hague. Says Rabkin:
"It is important to view this as a political challenge and not as a legal challenge. The only reason Israel has to fear such a procedure is that it would cause it negative headlines in the international press."
Improvement in Reuters terminology
Reuters, the recipient of the 2003 Dishonest Reporting 'Award', frequently misrepresents Hamas' ultimate aim of destroying Israel by using the following descriptive phrase:
The military wing of the Islamic militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement faxed to Reuters. Hamas has spearheaded a 28-month-old Palestinian militant uprising against Israel for a state in Gaza and the West Bank. (2.15.03 - emphasis added)
From this, the typical reader likely identifies with Hamas' 'freedom fight'. But Reuters coverage of yesterday's suicide bombing at the Erez checkpoint in Gaza showed noticeable improvement:
Sworn to Israel's destruction, Hamas has spearheaded a Palestinian uprising that erupted in the West Bank and Gaza in September 2000.
We've seen this change in terminology more than once from Reuters lately. It seems letters of protest, demanding accurate description of Hamas' goals, are working.
German coverage of Gaza attack
Yesterday a female Hamas suicide bomber killed four Israelis at the Erez Checkpoint.
Here's the headline from Deutsche Welle (Germany's international radio):
Mother of two kills herself at security check
One might think the Israeli security check was so harsh, she simply took her own life!
(Hat tip: Davids Medienkritik)
Kelley on Israeli 'vigilantees'
Now that reporter Jack Kelley is leaving USA Today (after the paper found Kelley fabricated sources in at least one story, and Kelley attempted a cover-up), we are really wondering about this story of Kelley's - from 9/4/01:
Israeli Extremists Take Revenge on Palestinians
The critique of this story in IMRA notes that none of the purported vigilantees described by Kelley could be found.
Palestinian journalists pledge loyalty
Palestinian reporters, including some employed by the international media, gathered at the Ramallah Muqata to pledge loyalty to Yasser Arafat by reading speeches and poetry in his honor:
Some 100 Palestinian journalists converged on the presidential headquarters in Ramallah on Tuesday – not to interview Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, but to pledge allegiance to him.
The journalists, who included representatives of international new organizations, did not trouble Arafat with any difficult questions.
Three of the journalists who attended said no one dared to ask Arafat about recent attacks on Palestinian correspondents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Instead, they read poetry and delivered emotional speeches in his honor before they lined up to have their pictures taken alongside their leader.
We'd like to know which Western news services had people in their employ participating.
PA Intimidation of the Press
While the PA is pressuring Arab journalists to call dead terrorists 'martyrs,' this is what happened to an Arab journalist who didn't toe the PA party line on another matter:
Last week, masked men assaulted and beat Seif A-Din Shahin, a reporter for the Alarabia satellite television network.
A few days after the attack, it emerged that the perpetrators were members of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades, and that the assault had followed Shahin's live broadcast on the thousands who took part in Fatah's anniversary celebrations two weeks ago. The report infuriated PA officials, who had expected Shahin to report that tens of thousands participated in the event.
But it's good to see some protest at least:
Dozens of Palestinian journalists Monday held a demonstration in Gaza to protest the beating of a reporter by Fatah activists.
The demonstrators held a vigil opposite the offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza to protest what they termed the attempts of the Palestinian Authority to "terrorize the media."
As Stefan from Sharkblog asks, 'How much play will this episode receive in the American media? Please, no wagering.'
BBC double standard
As the Robert Kilroy-Silk affair unfolds, the Telegraph and a British parliament member question the BBC's double standard on the viciously anti-Israel Tom Paulin:
Tom Paulin, the poet and Oxford don, has continued to be a regular contributor to BBC2’s Newsnight Review arts programme, despite being quoted in an Egyptian newspaper as saying that Jews living in the Israeli-occupied territories were “Nazis” who should be “shot dead".
Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP, said he found it hard to understand why the BBC had moved against Mr Kilroy-Silk but had not taken any action against Mr Paulin.
“I am not defending anything Mr Kilroy-Silk has said, but I was greatly upset by what Mr Paulin said, and I think the rules should apply to people equally,” said Mr Dismore. “Mr Paulin said awful things about Israel and Jewish people. He should have been kept off BBC screens while his own comments were investigated. I was surprised that that did not happen. It smacks of double standards on the part of the BBC.”
Mr Paulin made his comments in the Egyptian weekly newspaper Al-Ahram almost two years ago, saying that US-born settlers in the occupied territories should be shot dead. “I think they are Nazis, racists. I feel nothing but hatred for them,” he said, adding: “I never believed that Israel had the right to exist at all.”
Within days of the article appearing, a number of academic institutions, including Harvard, cancelled planned readings by the poet. The BBC, however, did not seek to remove him from Newsnight Review.
More on Tom Paulin:
- Here's a poem of Paulin's - 'Killed in the Crossfire':
To me the Zionists, who want to go back to the Jewish state of 70 AD (destruction of Jerusalem by Titus), are just as offensive as the Nazis. With their nosing after blood, their ancient 'cultural roots', their partly canting, partly obtuse winding back of the world, they are altogether a match for the National Socialists. - Victor Klemperer, 13 June 1934
We're fed this inert
this lying phrase
like comfort food
as another little Palestinian boy
in trainers jeans and a white teeshirt
is gunned down by the Zionist SS
whose initials we should
- but we don't - dumb goys -
clock in that weasel word crossfire
(Printed: February 18, 2001)
- In in the infamous al-Ahram interview, Paulin had this to say about Palestinian suicide bombers:
I can understand how suicide bombers feel...It is an expression of deep injustice and tragedy. I think -- though -- that it is better to resort to conventional guerrilla warfare.
- In Oct. 2001, Paulin attacked journalist Ian Baruma for not revealing his 'Zionist credentials' to readers.
- In November 2002, when Harvard first withdrew its invitation to Paulin, BBC News commented:
"Now his polemical, knockabout style has ruffled feathers in the US, where the Jewish question is notoriously sensitive."
The 'Jewish question'?
- In Jan. 2003, the ZOA encouraged Columbia University not to re-hire Paulin, due to his encouragement of murder of Israelis. Columbia did not re-hire Paulin.
- In May 2002, Jerusalem Post London correspondent Douglas Davis commented on Paulin and the BBC's encouragement of anti-Semitism: "Wittingly or not, I am convinced the BBC has become the principal agent for reinfecting British society with the virus of anti-Semitism."
See also this blog: Biased BBC, and leave comments at the site of the BBC's official charter renewal.
(Hat tip: LGF)
UPDATE: Columnist Mark Steyn weighs in on the double standard.
Photo caption, or editorial?
A caption from a recent Reuters photo of Yassir Arafat:
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is pictured at a Fatah movement rally at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 8, 2004. Israel's unilateral plan to absorb chunks of the occupied West Bank if peacemaking stays frozen leaves Palestinians little chance of salvaging their dream of a viable state. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
First of all, Sharon's unilateral plan by no means ends hope for a viable Palestinian state in the future. But what is this editorializing doing in a photo caption anyway?
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
USA Today reporter stepping down
Reporter Jack Kelley, who once received a commendation from HR while reporting from Israel, is quitting his job with USA Today surrounded by controversy.
A vaguely written report in USA Today refers to questions of accuracy, an investigation by the paper, allegations but no specifics. Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, however, elaborates on one aspect of Kelley's trouble:
In an effort to prove that he had spoken with a human rights activist in Yugoslavia, Kelley said in an interview, he encouraged a translator who was not present during the 1999 sit-down to impersonate another translator who was there. The woman who agreed to help Kelley called the USA Today journalist assigned to investigate the matter last fall and verified Kelley's account as if she had been there.
Among other points noted by Kurtz:
-USA Today has confirmed that Kelley was indeed outside a Jerusalem pizzaria (Sbarro's?) when it was blown up by a suicide bomber, as Kelley claimed. This was also apparently disputed.
-Kelley once wrote a story about Jewish settlers planning and carrying out attacks on Palestinians. Many HR readers questioned the story and went so far as to ask HR to revoke Kelley's commendation. The Kurtz article mentions this 'scoop' of Kelley's, but nothing further.
-USAToday doesn't plan to issue any corrections or retractions.
- It seems Kelley is joining Jayson Blair (former NY Times reporter, let go under similar circumstances) in another way: he's now writing a book about it all.
- In an updated piece, Wash Post's Kurtz now notes:
On another Kelley story examined by the newspaper -- a 2001 piece recounting Israeli settlers opening fire on a Palestinian taxi while shouting such comments as "Muslim filth" -- USA Today said its reporter Mark Memmott "could not find anyone with first-hand knowledge of the attack."
- USA Today is also more forthcoming in today's report on Kelley's dismissal.
Death Knoll for EU?
The Palestinian Authority has announced that the European Union is its 'ally of choice.' Blogger Stefan Sharkansky reminds us:
The Europeaser Union joins the distinguished company of the Palestinians' earlier "allies of choice", which have included: Adolf Hitler, Gamal Nasser, the Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein. Being selected by the Palestinians as an "ally of choice" would seem to be the kiss of death. I'd say the long term prospects for the Europeaser Union are looking pretty grim.
Victims of stone-throwing
Last week we issued a communique on the media's misrepresentation of the dangers of Palestinian 'stone-throwing'.
We received this personal account of a harrowing stone-throwing assault from an HR reader:
I went through this "stone throwing" stuff myself in late November
We had gone back and forth to Jerusalem 4 different times but there were a few things I hadn't seen. This little car that we were renting usually had my son driving with me also in the front. My husband, daughter and youngest son rode in the back. This day as we were going to Jerusalem it was just my son driving and me, with no one in the back seat.
As we were coming around the Damascus Gate we got caught in traffic and there were police on horseback. Lots of people on the sidewalks and there seemed to have been trouble sometime before we got there with broken glass all around. We couldn't go anywhere but stay in this traffic !! Then, all of a sudden we had something go through our rear window and brush the side of my head. It scared me very much.
Continue reading "Victims of stone-throwing"
Hitching a ride
An AP photographer caught this scene in Jenin on Friday:
It's important to remember this the next time Israel's accused of harming an 'unarmed Palestinian' or 'Palestinian child.' If the guy in the white shirt were to be shot, in the legitimate fear that he's about to drop a grenede into the tank, how would that death be characterized by the media? 'Unarmed Palestinian killed in Jenin' ?
From car swarm to tank swarm...
Islamophobia at BBC
The BBC has suspended a TV program host for making an anti-Arab commentary:
The Kilroy programme will be taken off air immediately following comments made by Robert Kilroy-Silk in a newspaper article, the BBC has announced.
The presenter branded Arabs "suicide bombers, limb amputators, women repressors" and asked what they had given to the world other than oil.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) described the piece written by the discussion show host in last week's Sunday Express as a "gratuitous anti-Arab rant".
Mr Kilroy-Silk's article included comments saying the toppling of despotic regimes in the Middle East should be a war aim, and questioned the contribution of the Arab nations to world welfare and civilisation.
He said Arabs "murdered more than 3,000 civilians on 11 September" and then "danced in the streets" to celebrate.
Interesting how quickly and decisively the BBC reacted to criticism from Muslim groups. The BBC defines 'Islamophobia' as the growing problem of 'fear or intolerance of Muslims because of their religion.' If Kilroy-Silk expressed intolerance, BBC just showed its fear.
Kilroy has now apologized for his comments. British Libertarian Perry de Havilland asks the right question:
my point is not to defend Kilroy-Silk, of whom I am not a particular fan but rather to wonder why it is that Robert Fisk and John Pilger can make equally sweeping and egregiously collectivist statements about Israel and the United States without so much as a murmur from the Guardian reading classes?
It seems that vilifying Israel is always fair game for mainstream-to-leftist British reporters, but make a derogatory statement about Arabs and media execs will show you the door. That's what passes for enlightened journalism in those UK circles these days.
(Hat tip: Tim Blair)
Palestinian medical fundraiser
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (the equivalent of the Red Cross in the U.S.) is having a little fundraiser it seems, and is selling some items over at CafePress.
How about this poster for your bedroom wall:
Good to see the Red Crescent Society is motivated by medical, humanitarian concern, and not old-fashioned anti-Semitism.
Trib Public Editor on Bias
Chicago Tribune Public Editor Don Wycliff has 'the first in an occasional series' on the issue of media bias. First, he addresses the seriousness of the matter from the perspective of journalists:
Nothing wounds a good newsman or newswoman as deeply as an allegation of bias. Even if the bias is conceded to be unintentional, it suggests a failure of the professional discipline that we journalists pride ourselves on and that is the basis of our credibility. If it is said to be intentional, it amounts to an allegation of deliberate distortion and bad faith.
Wycliff then turns to recent accusations of bias at the Trib, which have mostly focused that paper's coverage of the Bush administration, since 'the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians [is] in a relatively quiet phase' (!) Here's an interesting line:
When the media report skeptically and critically about [Bush's] message--and what's the point of doing journalism if not to be skeptical and critical?--they come off as "negative."
Is the point of journalism to be 'skeptical and critical'? We thought the point was to bring news stories to the public's attention in as accurate a manner as possible. Independent news media should not become mouthpieces for any government, but all too often in Israel coverage, the IDF/Israeli government position is granted very little legitimacy, or omitted entirely.
New Guardian Mideast Expert
We knew Guardian contributors were no great friends of Israel, but this byline gives us chills.
(They've outdone even the LA Times' op-ed page on defining legitimate contributors.)
Responsible newspapers won't do this, because they reserve op-eds for individuals who deserve their readers' fundamental trust (the bin Laden tape was therefore just a news story everywhere else). When printing an op-ed, editors implicitly express to their readership, "I don't necessarily agree with this person, but s/he deserves your attention as an credible, well-intended thinker."
Telling indeed that bin Laden fits this definition according to The Guardian.
Two important items on Syrian President Bashar Assad:
* MEMRI brings us an article from the website of the Syrian Communist Party showing how Assad recently pulled a Yassir on his people - speaking peace and concession to the West, while saying something else entirely to his people in Arabic. The issue in question is Assad's Nov. 30 interview with the New York Times, in which Assad expressed willingness to resume peace talks with Israel. Though it was 'reprinted' in Syria, it had been tampered with:
Is it conceivable that the president makes statements for quoting to the American press (which is the international press, since the interview was published in English), but that these statements aren't exactly the same as the ones published in the Syrian media?
Let us begin with the numbers: The English version, as published on The New York Times website, had 11,280 words... The Syrian news agency Sana and the official Syrian press published what it called the 'full version' but this had only 5,500 words. The London paper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published the 'full Arabic translation' of the interview, which was 7,667 words long.
Where did the 2,200 words vanish to, if, as the American press said, it was the president's office that prepared the English translation? What did Al-Assad tell America and the entire world yet at the same time thought not fitting to tell the Syrians?
The part that was omitted included questions and answers regarding [Syria's] domestic situation, Iraq, Hizbullah, normalization with the Hebrew state, and U.S.-Syrian security cooperation.
* The (UK) Telegraph has a number of important articles on Assad and Syria: An interview in which Assad all but admits that Syria has a WMD stockpile, Assad's verbal gymnastics when discussing suicide bombers, a profile of Assad, and a well-done staff-ed on the Syrian dictator.
Editors weigh in on 'T-word'
HonestReporting has continually stressed the importance of calling terror 'terror' in news reports, whether the premeditated attack against innocent civilians occurs in New York City, Jerusalem, or Baghdad.
The executive editor of the Miami Herald has just expressed his paper's commitment to do so:
It's Herald policy to use the most neutral language available in a given situation. We, too, label those who fight for a cause as militants. But unlike some of our colleagues, we see a line where a militant becomes a terrorist and we don't shy away from the latter word. When a suicide bomber blows up a bus carrying innocent civilians, it's an act of terrorism, not militancy.
The Herald is the latest in a string of papers to recently address this issue head-on, however belatedly.
Here's an overview of the positions they have expressed. (Note particularly the distinction between al Qaeda and Hamas that the Orlando Sentinel, Boston Globe and Washington Post attempted to make) :
we call Hamas ‘terrorists’ in news reports?
Should we call
al Qaeda ‘terrorists’ in news reports?
have, but it’s too late now, so yes
shock; US wasn’t at war, Palestinians are resisting occupation
Philip Gailey, St. Petersburg Times
n/a - double
standard should end
Christine Chinlund, Boston Globe
Sept. 8, 2003
No; but their
acts can be called “terrorism"
fits def. of “groups that have no clearly
identifiable or explicitly articulated political objective”; Hamas’ social
service functions; Israel is “far flung”
Michael Getler, Washington Post
Sept. 21, 2003
territorial ambitions, nationalism, social work; al Qaeda is everywhere, but
Hamas is regional; al Qaeda does random attacks, but Hamas part of war
Tom Fielder, Miami Herald
describing act at least
Worth Reading Today
* AP has an interesting feature about the relationship between Palestinian refugees and their Arab hosts. The refugees, it seems, face a lot of discrimination in Egypt, Jordan, and elsewhere.
* The Arab League has decided that Palestinian 'freedom fighters' are not terrorists. For the irrational basis of this, see Q and A in Arab News.
* Haaretz reports on Islamic Jihad funding via Syria.
* Jerusalem Post goes into some detail on PA finance minister Salam Fayyad's threats to resign due to Arafat's cronies stalling Fayyad's reform efforts.
* Shlomo Avineri has an op-ed in the LA Times on Geneva Accord:
The biggest problem for Israelis is that what the document's authors claim it says and what it actually says are very different. Many Israelis - including those ready to make considerable concessions - feel that with the Geneva initiative, they have been taken for a ride by the Palestinian propaganda machine and some willful - or naive - Israeli accomplices.
* Former National Security Council member Kenneth M. Pollack on 'America and the Middle East After Saddam':
The Arab states are broken. They are absolutely stagnant, politically, economically, and socially. And their people know it. The vast majority of Arab schools don't teach anything useful to their students and don't produce students who have useful job skills. Most of the students specialize in humanities, many of them aspire to be lawyers and Islamic scholars: two-thirds of all of the Ph.D.s issued in Saudi Arabia every year are in Islamic studies.
Why are Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGO's) refusing to sign a commitment to the US that they won't transfer money to terror organizations, and why won't the western media pick up on this?
From Jerusalem Post:
The US and some EU countries lately informed the Palestinian NGOs that, prior to entering into funding agreements, they must sign the pledge, which is entitled "Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing."
According to the document, the Palestinian NGOs pledge not to "provide material support or resources to any individual or entity that advocates, plans, sponsors, engages in, or has engaged in terrorist activity, including but not limited to individuals and entities"...
A statement issued by one of the major "coordinating committees" of the Palestinian NGOs called for a series of meetings to begin on Monday to discuss the antiterrorism commitment and how to put pressure on Washington to scrap it...
"It is not clear on what basis and upon which criteria the definition of 'terrorist acts' has been set, especially in light of Israeli attempts to portray the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and independence as 'violent and terrorist acts,' " the statement added.
When media outlets refuse to call suicide bombings 'terror,' they contribute to (if not create) this blurring of the essential definition of terrorism:
Terrorism: The calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimindation or coercion or instilling fear.